Amityville Horror (1979)


Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

Written by: Sandor Stern
Jay Anson (book)


James Brolin .... George Lutz
Margot Kidder .... Kathy Lutz
Rod Steiger .... Father Delaney
Don Stroud .... Father Bolen
Murray Hamilton .... Father Ryan
John Larch .... Father Nuncio
Natasha Ryan .... Amy
K.C. Martel .... Greg
Meeno Peluce .... Matt
Michael Sacks .... Jeff
Helen Shaver .... Carolyn
Val Avery .... Sgt. Gionfriddo

Release Date:
Theatrical: July 27, 1979




A young man kills his family in their new house down in Long Island New York as something told him to do so. Years later a newlywed couple named George (James Brolin) and Kathy Lutz (Margot Kidder) with their 3 children move into the house as they hope it will be their dream house but it ends up as a terrifying nightmare.

A preacher named Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) enters the house to bless it while the family tries out their new motorboat. A bunch of flies invade him and he feels ill. Then the door opens and something tells him to get out. He tries to call the family up but the line goes staticy. He feels ill later on and gets a bunch of rashes on him.

The daughter named Amy (Natasha Ryan) tells her mom that she has an imaginary friend named Jodie as Jodie tells Amy all kinds of dark secrets of what went on in the house with the family that moved in before them.

Kathy's husband and the kids' stepfather George is slowly becoming posssessed by the house and is starting to look like the man who killed his family that moved into the house before them and becomes obnoxious.

The house of their dreams becomes a terrifying disaster when they discover more terrifying secrets about their house and experience all sorts of terrifying moments there.


The beginning looks impressive with a red screen revealing the house as well as good shots on a shotgun killing someone in bed along with more neat stuff on a detective having a discussion afterwards during the murder case.
The plot afterwards looks very uplifting with the newlyweds George and Kathy spotting the property and acting full of life as well as the landlady showing them around which seemed pretty entertaining to watch all of this as well as good scene's on her showing the bedrooms and then disturbing flashback shots on the DeFeo kid shooting his family members which looked impressive here. It's also impressive when the landlady asks if they have children and George gets blunt and short with her in which leaves a good impression that he was acting like a bit of a jerk here.
Things get really good when we see the preacher Father Delaney going up the stairs to bless the house in which we hear ghostly sounds of little kids giggling which really adds to the ghostly story here. Plus it's impressive with close up camera shots on a bunch of flies as well as them surrounding this preacher. Then a great moment with a door opening and a demonic voice telling him to get out. This is a real pleaser for horror fans to watch all of this.
A perfect moment with Kathy suddenly waking up from a nightmare shouting out who killed someone as this was perfectly put in for the story.
A great psychological situation when Kathy's younger brother Jimmy is nervously counting his money making sure it's all there and then places it in his coat pocket but then it's gone in which the reactions to all of this trying to find it looked very believeable imagining if you were in this situation before a wedding happening that day and then the money isn't there for it which is not a good feeling at all.
A real impressive situation is when Amy's babysitter gets blunt to her and it gives you a feeling that something will happen to her in which Amy's ghostly friend Jodie will do something in which you see a rocking chair suddenly moving as if someone is getting off of it and the babysitter is in the closet to get something. Suddenly the door closes on her and she can't open it as well as her being driven to become emotinally scared too. Good close up camera shots on Amy staring with her big eyes which also looked impressively creepy.
It's nice later on when the family comes home and explain to the babysitter that there's no lock on the door in which you know that this evil force who is Jodie was keeping the door closed. Also it looks very dysfunctional when we spot George getting obnoxious leaving an impression that the house is slowly possessing him.
Things become even creepier when Amy discusses to her Mom about Jodie and the stories about the family that once lived in the house before them as this looked really impressive to watch a child discussing this especially when a parent never tells their child such horrible events that had happened there.
Perfect close up shots on George sharpening his axe as well as chopping wood menacingly when his friend Jeff tries to talk to him as this leaves a good creepy impression wondering if he's going to lose it and go crazy with that axe.
There's even another moment with George at a bar when Jeff is persitantly trying to choke something out of him and George slowly loses his patience which makes you cringe wondering if he will get into a rage or not. This moment looked good and suspenseful.
Then my favourite scene happens when Amy is singing a bible song and we spot a rocking chair moving when she sings and then her Mom comes in and Amy tells her she scared Jodie out the window and then outside we spot glowing eyes flashing. Yes, this was a classic moment here in the film.
A scene looked interesting when Amy plays with her dolls using vulgar words pretending to be a Mom in which was nicely put in thinking that what goes on in the house is giving her ideas along with a nice moment on her two older brothers teasing her from a window. A great shot on the window slamming on one of their hands knowing that Jodie is mad for bugging Amy.
There's another perfect surprise in the flick when we spot the family dog beforehand pawing at some bricks in a cellar since we wonder what could be behind this and Jeff's wife feels obessed on what's behind it. A great camera shot on her after they knock the bricks out explaning it to be a gateway to hell with a perfect deep voice coming out of her. This leaves goosebumps on your body while watching this scene.
More suspenseful and intense moments with Delaney at his cathedral trying to do something in order to protect the family and we spot a statue ther crumbling in which alot of this looked incredibly powerful.
More good dysfunctional moments with Kathy trying to talk to George in a living room on getting out of the house as well as him suddenly losing it which also seemed pretty good to watch looking like he is losing his sanity here.
We spot a nice moment when we see Kathy trying not to get emotional when she asks a preacher for Delany and is told he is on vacation in which you believeably feel sorry for the poor woman.
The terror adds up big time when the final night we spot a window crashing during a thunder storm or when George tries to attack a door with an axe. Plus great shots on a wall and a staircase with blood oozing out. There's even a situation when George leaves the vehicle to try and get their dog out of the house and we spot him going down in the cellar stairs and he crashes through in which this makes you jump a bit.
Bottom line is that this is based on a true story although the movie version fabricates alot on what the real family has discussed on what went on there. Very well done although critics say otherwise as probably because alot of people didn't believe that this really happened. There are many effective scene's throughout this story with good moments on the possessions and the hauntings too. It seems heartwarming at first when the family moves in and then slowly turns into a nightmare with a possessed man in the house keeping you on your feet to watch every move he makes.
The book by Jay Anson is more detailed and scarier too.
I give this film two thumbs up and it goes to show that there is horror in real life than in just fictionalised films.

The acting is very good. Margot Kidder (Kathy Lutz) proves that she can do other character than just Lois Lane in the Superman films as that's what most viewers note her doing but she also has a string of many other acting credits. She really brought good emotions to her part as the family woman and a great charming attitude too. She really knew on how to act happy and full of life during the beginning of the story. There's also a nice moment on her frusterations in other parts of the story too which she made look believeable such as her phone line losing connection. She knew on how to freak out or act emoitonally upset over the creepy situations that went on bringing her energy at a great tense pace here. All in all this gal is a wonderful character actress.
James Brolin (George Lutz) is also good and believable in his role by being obnoxious showing great intensive aggressions while slowly being possessed as well as showing some evil expressions too making him look intimidating. He was good with his bluntness too coming across as somewhat a jerk whenever he felt like it. He also had some great expressionless remarks along with a great gruff and cold speaking to what he was saying. Plus was great with his yelling behavior and acting believeably out of line. He also showed a great temperamental attitude when he acted violent the odd time showing a good energetic behavior within this as well. He really drove his intense anger while chopping wood too as he was well focused on thse scene's.
Rod Steiger (Father Delaney) played a great priest disturbed by the house and knew how to react in pain when something bad happens to him as well as showing terrific energy to what he does with his part. He showed a good painful and sick reaction while about to bless a house when the hauntings hit him in which he really got into this big time. He also knew on how to react well to some painful situations with perfect surprised expressions too. Plus he was great by getting into an aggressive rage when discussing with the other cast members as preachers on what he heard in the house driving every forceful aggression in his voice and letting it out. He was superb by acting like this. He also does well crying out and screaming in the cathedral while trying to find a way to save the family. His reactions looked believeably tragic within all of this.
Don Stroud (Father Bolan) shows a good laid back type of behavior as another preacher in which he shows off a believeable calmness into what he did in the flick. He had the right looks for this part and definetely shows a niceness to whatever he showed off in his performance here. He draws alot of this in nicely and also does well with his speaking too coming across as someone who is intelligent.
Natasha Ryan (Amy) shows a nice innocent charm to her role as the little girl in the flick. She seems to do well acting happy when she discusses her imaginary friend. She also does well with her whiny reactions too whenever she had to be this way when feeling sick. Also does well with her upsetting emotionas too. She also really got into what she was talking about when she discusses what her imaginary friend has told her about the kid that lived in her room before her. She focuses well on what she's talking about here and it looked strongly performed. She even concentrates well whenever she plays with her dolls in which looked realistic in what she did here.
Michael Sacks (Jeff) shows a great seriousness in his role by having a great no nonsense attitude. He delivers lis lines perfectly well a,long with really driving within his speaking to trying to get something out of someone as his attitude looked very dramatic and strong. I found his role quite effective into what he did throughout his performance here.
I really enjoyed Helen Shaver (Carolyn) in her supporting role who is good at playing someone whom was briefly possessed while being a the house possessed.
She shows a good fearful behavior too. Also she shows a great insane and emotional expression when she discovers what is behind some bricks in a cellar really getting into this as this was superb within her reactions towards all of this. She also has a nice smoothness to her speaking as well.
Val Avery (Sgt. Gionfriddo) certainly drew his attention onto the screen as a detective on the murder case even if his role wasn't huge at all. Yet he does well by having a surprised expressions when he encounters someone that reminds him of something. Plus he has some great seriousness speaking whenever he speaks which is also brilliantly done too. Of course he was a trained actor which really shows in this film.

The music was composed by Lalo Schifrin and knows his stuff to make it creepy sounding with the sharp screeching violin playing along with the chanting sounds especially during the beginning of this film and other neat music too. Plus there's nice piano playing during a scene with Kathy and George making love in bed which blended in perfectly well. Also great fast paced adventureous violin music for the powerful suspenseful scene's too. Plus there's good screeching and scraping sounds that works in well.

Sgt. Gionfriddo: Maybe I am just chasing shadows.

Kathy Lutz: She was shot in the head.

George: [talking to the presence in the house] What do you want with us? Goddamnit, this is *MY* house!

[the wedding/food caterer confronts George with the bill in the men's room]
Caterer: The deal was cash. You know? Cash.
George: [washing his face] The cash is lost. You're going to have to take a check.
Caterer: I don't like checks. Checks get cancelled. Checks bounce. Checks is not cash. Cash is cash.

George: You listen to me, pal. I don't like lectures and I don't like being hassled in the men's room. I'm going to write you a check. Either that's good enough for you or you're going to eat your own goddamn food.

Carolyn: [possessed] Find the well... it's the passage... to hell! SHUT IT!